New Book Asserts That Pop Star Michael Jackson was “more than an entertainer.”
NY Press Film Critic (and current New York Film Critics Circle Chairman) Armond White has published a new book on Pop Star MICHAEL JACKSON entitled KEEP MOVING: The Michael Jackson Chronicles.
The book is a collection of essays/reviews/capsules/reflections by critic Armond White. They chronicle the creations of Michael Jackson and note the context of related works by others. Written throughout his quarter-century as a critic (including a twelve year stretch as the Arts Editor of the Black-owned New York City weekly newspaper THE CITY SUN), the writing focuses on the work Michael Jackson produced AFTER the record-breaking commercial success of the Thriller album as represented by the songs and music videos created and associated with the Bad, Dangerous, HIStory: Past, Present, and Future, Book I and Blood On The Dance Floor albums. Throughout, Armond White examines the impact of Michael Jackson as a cultural phenomenon, aesthetic/music force and dance icon/show-biz influence.
During the outpouring of public grieving in the aftermath of Michael Jackson’s passing earlier this year, Armond White noticed that the
“Standard media demeaning of a black male icon was no longer acceptable. Michael Jackson’s art roused deep affection…Not just Black Americans but people around the world felt the same way—protective and loving.”
In KEEP MOVING: The Michael Jackson Chronicles, Armond White notes, “Michael Jackson’s importance wasn’t showbiz as usual, it moved through the ongoing issues of race, class, sex, spirituality and aesthetics.” To that end, topics written about include (but are not limited to):
-the universal primal family tensions, competitiveness, pressures and drama that drove the Jackson family (and helped influence/shape Michael Jackson)
-the continuous innovations by Michael Jackson of the taken-for-granted music video form, his Hollywood influences and Michael Jackson’s impact not only on the record industry but pop culture itself
-the showbiz secret behind the change in Michael’s appearance that was announced by the release of the Bad album
-the American shame Michael Jackson addressed (and transcends) with the Black Or White song/music video
-the cultural exchange dramatized by and emotional seduction of the song/music video, Remember The Time
-the psychological conflict suggested by the song/music video In The Closet
-Michael Jackson’s connection to Black culture (and his innovative musical/aesthetic breakthrough) demonstrated in the music video/song Jam
-the groundbreaking characterization of Jackson patriarch Joe Jackson by actor Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs in the TV movie The Jacksons: An American Legend
-the practiced vengeance of the media witchhunt displayed during the controversy generated by the song “They Don’t Care About Us”
While many people point to the albums, Off The Wall and Thriller as creative peaks for Michael Jackson’s solo career, Armond White insists that while those albums are splendid, you CANNOT stop there, paying attention to his post-Thriller work is crucial to understanding Michael Jackson’s development as an artist. In fact, throughout the book, critic Armond White makes the case for Michael Jackson being an artist, not “just” an entertainer. As for Michael Jackson’s work after Thriller being perceived as flawed or troubled or problematic, Armond White writes,
“Michael Jackson’s pleasureable pop art pushed the culture forward—challenging it—as he also challenged himself…Michael Jackson’s art was never meant to be controversial or difficult, and I tried to show in these essays that it wasn’t—if one received it with open eyes, ears and heart.”
KEEP MOVING: The Michael Jackson Chronicles measures 5 ½ inches by 8 ½, inches, is 130 pages long and costs $13.00 ($10.00 + $3.00 Shipping And Handling).
For more information (including ordering instructions) on the book KEEP MOVING: The Michael Jackson Chronicles, please review the blog: